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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Monday, December 31, 2007

New recycling law to hit alcohol sales

NORTH CAROLINA: A new law will affect every North Carolina business that sells alcohol; and it could show up on consumers’ bills. Starting Jan. 1, businesses with alcohol permits have to start sorting and recycling their glass, plastics and cans. State legislators passed the law three years ago, and supporters said businesses would save money by throwing away less trash.
Some bar owners disagree and say there will be extra costs to recycle that they will have to pass on to customers.
“Prices will go up. I'm sure everybody across the board will have to implement some small price increases to make up for the all containers we have to rent and the guys trucking it out of here,” said William Acquario, the owner of Tavern on the Tracks.
Acquario has been in business for about five years. He said his business has plenty of recyclable materials, and they’ll follow the law, but he says it doesn’t make much sense to recycle. “It’s just another bit of legislation that gets passed on down to the consumer unfortunately,” he said.
The law covers recycling of glass bottles, aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Through previous legislation, aluminum cans were banned from disposal in North Carolina. By October 2009, plastic bottles will also be banned from disposal. For most ABC permit holders, glass bottles will be the majority of the materials generated for recycling.
Some bars may even get rid of as many bottles as they can for a product that pays to recycle- cans. “It’s not economically feasible to recycle bottles and plastics. Cans you get money for because it is a valuable commodity,” said Wilson.
If a business doesn't follow the recycling program, owners could be fined or lose their alcohol permits.

If I'm paying restaurant/bar prices for a non-tap beer, I don't want it from a can. I want it from glass. I think most beer consumers would agree.
Anyway, this is silly. Who's going to monitor all this recycling action in order to fine those who don't obey the law?
Yes, I recycle. As a result, it's less stinky trash for me and my family to have sitting around, and we can feel as good as we want about throwing less trash into a landfill.
But I don't run a restaurant or bar. I don't literally run around while I pour drinks for guests and/or serve a half-dozen people at a time. I also have a recycling truck that drives by my front door each week to pick up any recycling I may have, and it's a manageable amount of glass, paper, plastic, and cans. Finally, I don't pay a staff by the hour, and I don't look forward to paying an employee (or employees) to deal with recycling in addition to all the other things a bar or restaurant owner has to pay a staff to do.
If bars or restaurants would do well by recycling, they could easily advertise it — 'We Recycle!' or 'We're Green!' — and attract all those drinkers who would choose one establishment over another because they recycle. Choosing to do so may turn out to be an incredible marketing idea, who knows, but let it be a choice for both businesses and consumers.
On an unrelated note, I was recently talking to a relative who used to live in South Carolina and occasionally bartended. He was describing how SC bar owners are lamenting the absence of the mini-bottle at bars, as the state finally did away with the old law that required one drink/one bottle. As soon as the bartenders switched to regular bottles, guess what? They started to under-pour or over-pour, either way screwing up the alcohol/mixer ratio of the drinks everyone was used to. Then customers, used to an exact amount of gin in their tonic, for instance, started getting pissed and asked for a new drink. In the end, more alcohol was poured, as the bartenders then often over-poured. Because a scientific and fair alcohol measuring system was no longer used, in the end, it screwed both owners and customers; only the employees benefited, as they suddenly could get better tips for over-pouring somebody else's alcohol. Anyway, I just thought that was interesting.


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